Only One Thing Matters in Online Surveys – WIIFM

Marketers have several tools at their disposal in their arsenal of marketing weapons, one of which is surveys. You can’t be a marketer without having done some surveys in your life, otherwise where will you have gotten  your data from? How did you target and fine tune your messages?

With the advent of cheap online survey software, everyone it seems is creating and sending out surveys. The good surveys, or should I say effective surveys, are the ones that get people to fill them out giving you enough insight into their market/purchasing process/buying habits/etc. that will positively affect your campaigns.

Marketing guru Seth Godin has recently posted a short but very good list of how you can make better surveys, but he misses one very important point. WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?). That’s what the reader will be asking herself as she reads and opens your survey.

The benefit to the survey respondent needs to be obvious. Sure, in some cases people may respond simply because they love your company/brand and that’s great, but you should also strive to get those who are not necessarily loyal customers to respond, otherwise the survey may end up not telling you the whole truth. What will they get out of it? There are several options:

  • Prize drawing (like an iPhone or other gear)
  • Cash (or gift cards)
  • Book
  • T-Shirts and other corporate branded giveaways
  • Knowledge

Of all the possible offers, Knowledge is probably the most enticing. Sure, if you give away a brand new tech toy people will likely get excited about the possibility of winning it, but if you give away Knowledge you will have an even better chance of impressing the respondent. This knowledge can come up in several different ways, such as a compilation of the survey results, a more personalized benchmark of your questions versus the survey population, a whitepaper about the subject at hand, and many others. Few people do it this way because it takes time and money.

Regardless of what you are offering (and the offer should vary based on your target population for the survey, your industry, etc.) you will be far more successful if you think in terms of WIIFM – make it attractive enough that they will want to spend a few minutes answering your questions.


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